skip to main content

Monday, May 29, 2023

play newscast audioPlay

Advocates call for a climate peace clause in U.S.-E.U. trade talks, negotiations yield a tentative debt ceiling deal, an Idaho case unravels federal water protections, and a wet spring eases Iowa's drought.

play newscast audioPlay

Gold Star families gather to remember loved ones on Memorial Day, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy says the House will vote on a debt ceiling bill this week and America's mayors lay out their strategies for summertime public safety.

play newscast audioPlay

The growing number of "maternity care deserts" makes having a baby increasingly dangerous for rural Americans, a Colorado project is connecting neighbor to neighbor in an effort to help those suffering with mental health issues, and a school district in Maine is using teletherapy to tackle a similar challenge.

Report: TN’s Unemployment Benefits Among Lowest in Nation

play audio
Play

Tuesday, July 7, 2020   

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennesseans are filing for unemployment in record numbers, yet a new report from the Sycamore Institute says the state's unemployment benefits and related employer taxes are among the lowest in the nation.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues with a potential second wave expected, more families are relying on unemployment insurance to stay financially afloat. Sycamore policy director Mandy Pellegrin said COVID-19 has left many wondering what the future holds for the state's system.

"Over the last two decades, Tennesseans have been less likely than other out-of-work Americans in other states to get unemployment benefits," Pellegrin said. "In other words, our recipiency rate is fairly low. And at the same time that that's been going on, the value of the benefits that Tennesseans receive from the program has fallen."

According to the report, Tennessee's unemployment insurance program provided benefits to around 21% of unemployed workers during the first quarter of 2020. The state currently ranks in the bottom eight among states for the number of out-of-work residents who are receiving benefits.

Pellegrin said policymakers might start by taking a look at how Tennessee's unemployment trust fund is supported. Right now, the program gets padded with cash during good times, and is paid out to people when the economy goes downhill.

"Of course, the way the taxes are structured, like they are in nearly every state, is that when your funds get really large, the taxes actually go down," she said. "So, there are some questions about is that actually the best way to to do it."

The additional $600 per week in federal benefits some Tennesseans are receiving through the CARES Act is slated to run out at the end of July. Pellegrin noted it remains uncertain what effect that might have on the economy.

"At the same time, policymakers can't control what people choose to do if they do fear for their health," she said. "So, people (are) choosing to stay home and not go to their local businesses because they fear they might get or spread the virus. "

More than 600,000 people in Tennessee have applied for unemployment benefits since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.


get more stories like this via email

A new ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court means ephemeral streams, such as this one in the mountains east of San Diego, are no longer protected by the Waters of the United States rule. (Chris Hunkeler/Flickr)

Environment

play sound

The U.S. Supreme Court has gutted federal protections for much of the country's wetlands. The court found that the Waters of the United States rule…


Environment

play sound

Environmental advocates say the U.S. Supreme Court has dealt a major blow to the Clean Water Act and to Maine's ability to protect some of its most …

Environment

play sound

A U.S. Supreme Court case that began in Idaho has weakened protections across the nation under the Clean Water Act. The justices on Thursday handed …


As workers try to move forward from the pandemic's aftereffects, labor leaders, including the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees, say protections and stronger benefits should help get their careers back on track. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

play sound

Minnesota legislators adopted a lot of major policies in this year's session, including actions to support workers in many different fields. State …

Environment

play sound

The nonprofit Trust for Public Land has published its annual ParkScore rankings, and some area cities are high on the list. Washington, D.C.…

The "Water Year" typically starts on Oct. 1, and represents the time when new water Iowa receives goes to help the next year's growing season. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

play sound

For the first time in nearly three years, the widespread drought that has had Iowa in its grip is predicted to end. The latest drought outlook says …

Health and Wellness

play sound

As the opioid epidemic continues to take its toll, a Virginia group is working to keep people safe. The Virginia Harm Reduction Coalition in Roanoke …

Health and Wellness

play sound

Extreme heat kills about 700 people in the United States each year, but a new toolkit and weather alerts can protect folks in Texas and beyond…

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021